From a young age we are taught what grief looks like. Movies are full of tragic screams and shouts of grief. Women splayed across the ground, tears streaming down their perfect fragile faces. We see men cry for their first time in their adult lives and be moved to erratic and dangerous behavior. We see drama and pain and it’s loud and visible. This is what you should look like when you are sad, right? This is how you should suffer? You should sit in some corner unable to eat? Drink? Speak? You should be unable to enjoy the world around you and humor should be sapped from your life for an indeterminate amount of time.
So when my grandpa died last month, and two hours later I was playing video games and laughing with friends, I felt broken.
It’s confusing, still. People hear that your grandpa died and there is sympathy, but a certain amount of expectation. Grandparents are old, right? I’m twenty-eight years old, so it seems reasonable that I should be prepared and ready for the death of the older generation in my family, and in a lot of ways I am. The thing about my grandpa, though, is that he wasn’t old. He wasn’t sick or slow moving, he wasn’t tired or weak. He was strong, incredibly strong. He had an impressive home gym that he used every single day, he golfed with my grandma, he gardened and kept his home pristine. He was in better shape than most people I knew, stacked full of solid muscle. He wasn’t old and grumpy, he was funny. The funniest man I’ve ever known. He called his fists Dynamite and Sure Death and tried to give every kid in the room a knuckle sandwich. He was so big that he was afraid to hold tiny babies even though he loved kids more than anything in the world, and guys get this! He was afraid to hold them, because he was scared he might hurt them on accident.
The memorial was beautiful, so many stories and so much love, every story was funny because that was the impression he made and the funeral home couldn’t hold the amount of people that came to say goodbye to him. I’m not a fan to romanticizing people when they are gone, I believe that flaws make us as beautiful and unique as our good side, but I can’t tell you one bad thing about my grandpa. I have a tattoo of an anchor on my hand because he did, he was the perfect man to grow up around and the hole he left in the world still feels too big.
I felt like I grieved incorrectly, I made underhanded jokes with my uncle and poked fun at things. I only cried once or twice and mostly I just enjoyed my family while I was in town. I avoided my feelings in the visible ways, but behind the scenes my anxiety grew and I stopped Whole30 (which is why there was no further update. I made it to day 13 and then my grandpa died and I knew I would be travelling with two small babies and I couldn’t handle the stress. Once I find another partner for it, I will attempt it again. In the mean time Riley finished it! She did the whole damn thing! You can read about it all over at her blog).
I needed to write this because I need people to know that I am coming back, my fitness is coming back on track. Some people could have stayed on track, in fact I probably could have stayed on track, but you fall down nine times and stand up ten, right? I’m okay, and I’m here. My life is in a large state of flux and transition that I will discuss more coming up, along with making monthly goal posts, lots of things are coming. I have lots of ideas and I’m ready to be more present now that I’ve had time to grieve.
Thank you guys for understanding. In the end I want everyone to know that, there isn’t a right way to be sad, to grieve, to process. Five minutes after my mom told me and I sat in the corner of my bedroom disbelieving, my husband came home and I repeated the same sentiments over and over “he worked out every day” “ he was healthy” “How can he be gone?” Then I looked at my husband and told him I just wanted to watch Real Housewives of Orange County for awhile and play video games. I was afraid he would think I wasn’t sad enough, but luckily he never assumed my feelings. If you need to be sad, please give yourself permission. Food and fitness, running and calories, it can wait. It will be there. You have tomorrow. If you don’t process… it will come back worse.
It’s okay to be sad. I give you permission. Give yourself the permission.